30 May 2005

Longforgan's big hearted Tartan Army

The trolley was moving almost too quickly for our photographer to catch, as members of the Longforgan Tartan Army zipped round Asda Kirkton picking up gifts for Chernobyl children.

Kind-hearted members of the Longforgan Tartan Army have raised money to improve the lives of youngsters living in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion (writes Graeme Strachan).

Supporters are collecting money at Asda in Kirkton, Dundee, for the Tartan Army's Sunshine Appeal, which raises cash for underprivileged children in countries in which the Scottish team plays.

Members of the Longforgan branch will attend a party in Minsk at a children's cancer hospital on the day of Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Belarus on June 8.

The Longforgan TA has raised around ?900 worth of gifts for children, including toys, teddies, clothes, badges, sweets, jotters, pens, pencils and toiletries.

With the trip looming, Alastair Wilson, mine host at the Longforgan Coaching Inn, and leader of the local branch of the Tartan Army, praised LTA members and patrons and staff who have helped with donations.

Although Chernobyl is 35 miles inside the Ukrainian border, around 70% of its radiation fell on neighbouring Belarus.

Some 1.6 million of its population still live in contaminated areas.

The total cash donation from the Sunshine Appeal will be ?3000.

The Longforgan TA will be making a monetary donation to charity CCLL to fund sending children in Belarus to summer camps for three weeks. There are spas, hydrotherapy pools and gyms, as well as psychologists and physiotherapists to help the kids learn more about the effects of radiation poisoning.

"Only 5-10% of children in Belarus can be declared healthy, and these camps can help the kids' life expectancy," said Mr Wilson. "We can't make a monetary donation over there, so we're donating to CCLL over here and having a party in Minsk at a children's cancer hospital.

"We'll be making gift donations to the children there and having a party, hopefully a day for them to remember.

"All donations are very gladly accepted."